Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation seems to be drawing to a close, Congressional Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) are not abandoning the Trump investigation trail. This week on MSNBC, he asserted that the Justice Department must hand over any and all relevant information that emerges from the Russia investigation or one of its related probes so that Congress can determine whether even impeachment might be necessary.
He told host Chris Hayes:
‘The Justice Department was sharing hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery in the Clinton email investigation, and we are not about to allow them to have some kind of a double standard, particularly when there is such public need to know. In addition to that, if the department is to maintain a policy that we can’t indict a sitting president, they can not also say that we’re not going to share with Congress the evidence that would allow you to consider whether other remedies are necessary.’
He commented as much as speculation continued to swirl about what exact form the final report from Mueller’s investigation would take. The special counsel’s office will submit it to the Attorney General — but then what? Will the newly confirmed William Barr be forthcoming in what he shares with Congress? Will House Democrats like Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff have to use their new subpoena power? He certainly seems willing to do exactly that.
Ironically, the Justice Department ran afoul of the previous House majority, too. Repeatedly, they butted heads with former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and his allies, who were demanding documents covering the behind-the-scenes logistics of the Russia investigation as part of their effort to investigate the investigators, so to speak. House Republicans threatened to hold then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the still-serving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in contempt of Congress — and even began impeachment proceedings against the latter — for refusing to comply with what they wanted.
Now, Schiff is perturbed at Rosenstein’s suggestion that the Justice Department would be withholding information that did not directly relate to criminal charges.
Schiff is going to be questioning one of those who’ve faced criminal charges in the Mueller probe this week. Thursday — the day after he appears publicly before the House Oversight Committee — former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will testify privately before the House Intel Committee, which he’s pleaded guilty to lying to about the scope of efforts to construct a Trump Tower Moscow.
Schiff told Hayes this week that he’d be seeking to understand why Cohen lied and who in the president’s circle, including Donald Trump himself, might have been in on the deception.
Schiff kickstarted his committee’s renewed Russia investigation literally the day after Trump railed against “ridiculous partisan investigations” that he compared to literal war during his State of the Union address. The Congressman, who Trump has repeatedly singled out for criticism in some kind of last ditch effort to get him to leave him alone, was caught on camera smirking during the president’s anti-investigation ranting.
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